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Red Sox 0, Astros 2: Sox lineup lets John Lackey down again

John Lackey persevered after an early ankle injury. The Red Sox lineup, however, never backed him up despite facing the Astros.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox entered Monday night's game with a 68-45 record and an MLB-high 568 runs scored. The Houston Astros entered with a 36-74 record, having allowed an MLB-high 579.

Somehow, these two teams combined to produce a 2-0 Astros win. I don't know, John Farrell doesn't know, the Red Sox don't know. The only person who probably does is John Lackey, and that's because he's gotten used to it. That's the sixth time that Boston's most reliable starting pitcher this season has allowed two earned runs or fewer, and been handed a loss for it.

Then again, perhaps the Red Sox do know what happened. After all, this was just another instance of a freshly called-up lefty shutting down one of the game's best offenses. It's the sort of thing that seemed to come up more frequently in years past, but Boston's issues against left-handed hitting have certainly cropped up in 2013. And if Oberholtzer was not exactly overwhelming on the mound, he threw strikes enough on a night when the Red Sox simply weren't looking terribly interested in putting the bat solidly on the ball.

Given that, it didn't matter how much John Lackey did. It didn't matter that he came out after rolling his ankle making a play in front of the plate in the second, and it didn't matter that he rattled off ten strikeouts. He gave up a run in the bottom of the fifth, with the Astros running all over Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and then had a second added to his resume when the Astros laid down a suicide bunt in the seventh with Junichi Tazawa trying to strand a pair of baserunners for him. '

Boston's best chance came in the eighth inning, with Jonny Gomes leading off the inning with a double, then moving to third on a sacrifice fly. Somehow, though, neither Stephen Drew nor Brandon Snyder managed to so much as put the ball in play, leaving the Sox still without a run. Josh Fields of all people--taken from Boston in the Rule V draft this past offseason--struck out the side in the ninth to end it, with Jonny Gomes swinging at pitches by his neck and Jarrod Saltalamacchia swinging at curveballs in the dirt.

One ugly night for Red Sox baseball.

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